The Raynham Planning Board meeting of Thursday, November 20, 2014, at Raynham Veterans’ Memorial Town Hall, was opened by Chairman Daniel Andrade at 6:00 p.m.
Board members present:~ Daniel Andrade, Burke Fountain, Henry Ellis, Russell Driscoll
Board members not present:~ Christopher Gallagher
Staff present:~~ John Charbonneau, Director Planning& Community Development; Maureen McKenney, Administrative Assistant
6:00 p.m. – General Business:~ Memo dated November 19, 2014, was received from Highway Superintendent Ed Buckley, ‘Re: Request for approval of funding for Storm Drain Improvements near 15 Leonard Street and Church Street Intersection.’~ Dick Schiavo, 218 Hickory Drive, spoke in favor of Mr. Buckley’s request, noting the project is worthwhile.~ Burke Fountain agreed and moved to release $8,150.00 from the account to the highway department, as requested in the 11/19/14 correspondence; second Mr. Driscoll; motion passed 3-0-0.~ (Mr. Ellis arrived.)
6:02 p.m. – Broadway/Rte. 138 zoning:~ Mr. Andrade opened by noting that Rte. 138 is the last area in Raynham where future development is most likely to happen, and is the most controversial area with new business use versus staying with the current uses. He explained that under the guidance of previous town planner, Marilyn Whalley, the Town received a $10,000 grant to hire SRPEDD to conduct a study on Rte.138.~ A study committee was then formed but became inactive when Ms. Whalley retired.~ The committee was reactivated when a new town planner was hired and Rte. 138 is being addressed again.~ He noted Rte. 138 has different zoning districts - Business, Residential A and Residential D,
Dick Schiavo spoke regarding the importance of revitalizing Rte. 138.~ He noted Rte. 138 is not like Rte. 44 and asked that people keep an open mind on the matter.
Mr. Andrade noted there was a sign-in sheet at tonight’s meeting and it is merely a record of those in attendance and is not a vote on any matter.
John Charbonneau (‘town planner’) spoke, noting the Study Committee started meeting again but nothing resulted.~ He explained that he spoke to 32 of the 35 property owners in the Residential D area of Broadway and that 28 of those owners strongly supported a zoning change.~ He discussed that Mass. Highway conducted a traffic study in September at five points along Rte. 138 and found the highest traffic occurred north of Carver St.~ It was found that in the last six to seven years, traffic has increased 10%.~ He stated Rte. 138 is dangerous to own a home~on, and/or difficult to resell property as residential, which could lead to vacant homes becoming an eyesore in the future.~ He spoke of concern with protecting property rights of those around Rte. 138.
Mr. Charbonneau discussed the tax assessment information he collected for residential versus business properties, noting residential properties generate less tax revenue for the Town, and that properties are taxed on their use not their zoning district. He noted single-family homes will still be allowed in a Business District, and any change on Rte. 138 will not happen overnight but will take years.~ Mr. Charbonneau discussed the fact that the commuter rail is planned along the Rte. 138 corridor.~ He discussed that Rte. 138 cannot become like Rte. 44 because of the sizes and depths of the lots involved.~ He noted there could potentially be a Chapter 40B housing project if lots are combined along Rte. 138.~ Mr. Charbonneau stated rezoning could be done by an overlay district and improvements could be handled through design
at the Planning Board site plan process.
Mr. Fountain asked if there would be added traffic if a commuter rail station is located at the dog track property; Mr. Charbonneau was not sure.~ Mr. Ellis noted Rte. 138 is similar to Winthrop Street/Rte. 44 in Taunton and there are no empty houses along that road.~
John Teixeira, First Street, spoke and asked the town planner to repeat the traffic study numbers he cited earlier; Mr. Charbonneau did so.
William Barrett, Broadway, stated these changes could take 15 to 20 years and asked why something could not be done sooner so people could sell their property.~ Mr. Andrade noted the Board is trying to figure out the issue now but the changes could take 15 to 20 years to happen.~
Mr. Andrade noted there are multiple zones on Rte. 138, including the area from King Philip Street to the Taunton city line, which was zoned Business Development District to try to block stores like Wal Mart.
Robert Powell, Broadway, spoke about the fact that Rte. 138 has land in both Raynham and Taunton.
Laraine Nickerson, First Street, noted that only the side where Wal Mart is located is zoned Designated Development District (DDD) and the other side is Residential D.~ Mr. Charbonneau stated the DDD is out of place on Rte. 138 because it was created to encourage large business developments, and he feels that district should be rezoned in the future. He noted that any changes to the DDD would apply to both the Rte. 138 area and the Paramount Drive DDD.
Dr. Cheng-Chieh Chuang, Broadway, spoke about the fact that he located his family medical practice to a residential property in the Residential D District on Rte. 138, where he also intended to live, but he would not have done so had known the square footage limit for a businesses in Residential D, which proved to make his practice unprofitable. He feels the area was not a good place to live.
Mr. Charbonneau spoke of the positive effects of mitigation from the Wal Mart project, such as roadway improvements and the new traffic lights.~ Mr. Andrade noted the Board waited to see how the area was impacted by those improvements before moving forward on other changes.
Janelle Hill, Britton Circle, spoke about her concern with the increased truck traffic along Rte. 138, noting she does not want to see more of it, and she does not favor a CVS in a residential area.
Sylvia Cross, Chickering Road, asked if changes were planned for just Broadway or for the back neighborhoods.~ Mr. Andrade noted that the Study Committee decided to stay with the Rte. 138 properties, and he strongly feels changes should not go off Broadway.~ Mr. Charbonneau said he supports changing zoning of the lots fronting on Rte. 138 and is not in favor of split-zoning.~ ~~~~
Mr. Teixeira discussed his concern with small lots on Rte. 138 and the fear of lots combining for large development, which would infringe on abutting neighborhoods.~ He asked if the lots behind Rte. 138 could be included in new development.~ Mr. Charbonneau and Mr. Andrade spoke about the fact that zoning lines for all districts must be maintained, and new zoning descriptions would be written by using meets and bounds of property lines,
Mr. Teixeira noted that traffic on Rte. 138 would increase with new business because people would have a reason to come to the area.~ Mr. Charbonneau stated that is a possibility.~ Mr. Teixeira noted the main reason for wanting to change zoning on Broadway would be to increase property value; he questioned who would want a big business next door to their residence; he felt taxes are not the best argument for rezoning properties; and more curb cuts means more traffic.~~~~~~~
Kathleen Kenney, Broadway, spoke and noted she is worried that she can’t get a return value on her property if she sells it as residential.~ She stated the two neighborhoods should work together, and she does not support infringing on the back neighborhoods off Rte. 138.
Mr. Andrade noted the Town has input on project approvals, but Mass. Highway has control over Rte. 138 exits and entrances.~ Mr. Charbonneau commented that any rezoning would address issues such as closeness of buildings, parking in the rear, traffic circulation and long term issues.
Mr. Andrade noted SRPEDD suggested an overlay district with its own criteria for Rte. 138.~ Mrs. Nickerson asked if the Town can discriminate against restaurants or drive-ups.~ Mr. Andrade said the Town can define what they want in a district. ~He noted that lighting and parking issues would be addressed and that light pollution is a big concern especially in residential areas such as Britton Circle.
Mr. Fountain asked Mr. Charbonneau to explain SRPEDD.~ Mr. Charbonneau explained it is the regional planning agency of which the Town is a member.~ It was noted that Mr. Driscoll is the Planning Board’s representative to SRPEDD.~
Mr. Lopes, First Street, spoke and noted no study was done on First Street.~ Mr. Andrade explained that a study was not done but rather Mr. Charbonneau went to the houses on Broadway.
Tony Macedo, Campbell Court, commented that changes on Rte. 138 will be self-regulating since big stores need three to four acres, and the corridor is not conducive because the lots are too shallow and narrow.~ Mr. Charbonneau noted the new B & D Construction project is a good example of a business for Rte. 138.
Mrs. Nickerson asked if the Board is taking 200 feet or 500 feet back from Rte. 138.~ Mr. Andrade explained they are not taking anything but are just involving the properties on Broadway.
Rick Smith, Forest Street, owner of MD Cabinetry located on Broadway, explained that he went through the site plan process with the Planning Board to locate his business, and the process involved abutters, parking design and other issues.~ He noted neighbors could speak at the site plan hearings, and the Board was diligent with the site plan.~ Mr. Andrade noted the Board has design, lighting, color and other standards that are addressed, and an overlay district could have its own design standards.
John Kokoroyannis, Broadway, said the image of business is changing and businesses today can be green, can involve software and technology, and new businesses could benefit the town.~ He noted the Rte. 138 study committee felt Rte. 138 needs addressing.~ Mr. Charbonneau noted that the committee’s Rte. 138 concerns were heard.~
It was noted that copies of the SRPEDD Rte. 138 land use study are available at the planning department.
Sylvia Cross, Chickering Road, asked if a certain amount of parking is needed for a business.~ Mr. Andrade answered yes.~ He noted the size of a property will regulate the type of business use.
Mr. Schiavo asked what would be the mechanism to codify an overlay district.~ Mr. Ellis stated the Board can specifically include what it wants and does not want.~ Mr. Schiavo asked if there will be additional meetings for input on an overlay district.~ Mr. Andrade stated no, the Board would be doing that work and would let the information out to people.~ He noted tonight’s meeting was to gauge support for rezoning.~ Mr. Schiavo noted it benefits everyone to be proactive not reactive.~ Mr. Andrade noted the Board does not want to go forward with zoning change if it is not supported.
Mrs. Nickerson noted people have tried to work together.~ She commented that in the past there have been spot zoning articles put forward by some.~ She asked that if the goal is to implement an overlay district, and some don’t participate and use the overlay, will property revert back to the original zoning.~ Mr. Andrade answered yes.
Mr. Teixeira asked if the Board had a sense tonight of whether or not there is support on the issue.~ After discussion, Mr. Andrade asked who wanted to leave Broadway exactly as is.~ A few raised their hands.~ Mr. Teixeira noted that abutting neighborhoods to the 104 properties involved are also affected by changes.~ He questioned the need to change, noting that certain types of businesses are allowed on Broadway now.~ He noted First Street, Chickering Road and Britton Street will be affected by the traffic.~ Mr. Fountain said he does not see a big change in traffic by the added businesses, which may only have one employee.~ Mr. Teixeira noted employees are not the issue. ~~
Mrs. Nickerson noted Rte. 138 in Raynham is not the only area to have problems and other towns are experiencing the same concerns.~ She stated all those involved in the process love the town.
Janelle Hill, Britton Circle, asked the date of the traffic study.~ The town planner said it was September 9 thru September 12, Tuesday to Thursday.~ Ms. Hill noted Market Basket was shut down then.
Mr. Kokoroyannis noted there is always traffic going through to other towns.
Steve McDonald, Broadway, asked if the proposed rail line will dissect Britton Street and cross King Philip Street and involve property takings.~ Mr. Andrade stated the Board does not know about that.~ Mr. McDonald stated the real concern is properties on Rte. 138 and there is plenty of land for screening.
Mrs. Nickerson asked if people could be aware of future discussions.~ Mr. Andrade explained the Board will meet and discuss the overlay zoning, but people will have input on the Board’s final version.
Mark Thomas, Maple Street, asked if the assisted living business and the Bridgewater complex were considered in the traffic study.~ Mr. Charbonneau did not know if those areas were involved for this section of Broadway
Jeanine Castro, Scott Drive, said she is concerned with traffic going through the Elm St. area to reach Rte. 495 and Rte. 138.
Discussion ended, and the Board recessed at 7:55.
7:58 p.m. – The Board reconvened.~ Mr. Fountain moved to waive the reading and approve the minutes of October 16, October 28, and November 6, 2014; second Mr. Driscoll; motion passed 4-0-0.
Mr. Andrade noted the memo from the Highway Superintendent regarding use of funds being held by the Board.~ Mr. Andrade suggested that a standard form be prepared for the Board’s signature now and in the future to authorize the use of funds that they are holding for road improvements.~ It was noted the Selectmen are aware of the process and there are checks and balances in place to allow use of funds.~
There was no further business and the meeting ended at 8:04 p.m.
Christopher J. Gallagher, Clerk